Frances Frenaye

Frances Frenaye (1908–1996) was an American translator of French and Italian literature.

Frances Frenaye

Frances Frenaye (1908–1996) was an American translator of French and Italian literary works. She worked at the Italian Cultural Institute from 1963 to 1980 and was responsible for editing its newsletter. She won the Denyse Clairouin Memorial Award (1951) for her translation from French to English of Georges Blond’s The Plunderers and J.H.R. Lenormand’s Renee. She also wrote for an Italian newspaper, Il Mondo, for some time. Frenaye graduated from Bryn Mawr College and spent 50 years living in Manhattan before dying in Miami Beach.

cover image of the book The Dry Heart

The Dry Heart

The Dry Heart begins and ends with the matter-of-fact pronouncement: “I shot him between the eyes.” As the tale—a plunge into the chilly waters of loneliness, desperation, and bitterness—proceeds, the narrator’s murder of her flighty husband takes on a certain logical inevitability. Stripped of any preciousness or sentimentality, Natalia Ginzburg’s writing here is white-hot, tempered by rage. She transforms the unhappy tale of an ordinary dull marriage into a rich psychological thriller that seems to beg the question: why don’t more wives kill their husbands?

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cover image of the book Little Misunderstandings of No Importance

Little Misunderstandings of No Importance

The eleven short stories in this prize-winning collection pivot on life’s ambiguities and the central question they pose in Tabucchi’s fiction: is it choice, fate, accident, or even, occasionally, a kind of magic that plays the decisive role in the protagonists’ lives? Blended with the author’s wonderfully intelligent imagination is his compassionate perception of elemental aspects of the human experience, be it grief as in “Waiting for Winter,” about the widow of a nation’s literary lion, or madcap adventure as in “The Riddle,” about a mysterious lady and a trip in Proust’s Bugatti Royale.

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cover image of the book Women Of Messina

Women Of Messina

by Elio Vittorini

Translated by Frances Frenaye

An early version of Elio Vittorini’s Women of Messina was published in Italian in 1950 and, by the author’s request, never reprinted. After considerable restructuring and rewriting, a second, definitive edition was brought out fourteen years later; it is this novel—Vittorini’s last—which is now appearing for the first time in English translation. Readers familiar with Vittorini’s work will find Women of Messina remarkably suggestive in both spirit and content of his memorable In Sicily (1937). Once more, the theme is the search for certainty in the face of massive apathy and hopelessness. Consciously evoking Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Vittorini recounts the attempts of metaphorically ’shipwrecked" group of men and women—most, like him, natives of Sicily—to construct a new life on the site of a devastated village in postwar Italy. A lyrical work of epic scope—termed a “choral narrative” by the novelist Italo Calvino—Women of Messina bears witness to the human will to survive with dignity.

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